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How To Choose The Right Keywords For SEO

Selecting the right keywords for SEO is critical in optimising your content and improving your website’s visibility in search engine results. Here are 10 steps you can take to help you research, choose and continually optimise your keyword selection:

1 – Understand your Business and Target Audience

Why Does This Matter For Keyword Rankings?

By taking the time to understand your business and audience in this detail, you will give yourself the ability to align your content with the specific needs, interests and search behaviours of your potential customers.

It will also give you the chance to familiarise yourself with the language and terminology most likely to be used by your audience. Each industry has unique lingo and by identifying the specific terms, jargon and phrases commonly used, you can look to incorporate these into the rest of the keyword selection process.

You should also consider the buying journey of your target audience and how this could relate to their search intent. People looking to purchase a new family car will have completely different needs and search behaviours to people looking to find and book a local Chinese restaurant.

How Do I Get A Better Understanding of My Business & Target Audience?

Here are some steps to help you gain better insights:

  1. Define Your Business Goals: Begin by clarifying your business objectives and goals. Identify what you want to achieve through your website and online presence. This could include increasing sales, generating leads, enhancing brand visibility, or establishing thought leadership. Aligning your SEO efforts with your business goals is crucial for success.
  2. Conduct Market Research: Dive deep into market research to gain a comprehensive understanding of your industry, competitors, and target audience. Identify industry trends, customer preferences, and emerging opportunities. Analyse your competitors’ strategies to learn from their successes and shortcomings. This research will provide valuable insights into your business landscape.
  3. Develop Buyer Personas: Create detailed buyer personas that represent your ideal customers. These personas are fictional representations of your target audience, incorporating demographic information, interests, behaviours, pain points, and motivations. Use surveys, interviews, and customer data to gather relevant information and refine your personas. Understanding your audience’s needs and preferences will help you tailor your SEO efforts accordingly, and also bolster your other marketing efforts. Cintell report that 70% of businesses that exceed lead generation goals utilise buyer personas!
  4. Analyse Website Analytics: Utilise web analytics tools like Google Analytics to gather data about your website’s performance. Analyse metrics such as traffic sources, user behaviour, conversion rates, and engagement patterns. This data will provide valuable insights into your current audience, popular content, and areas for improvement. It will help you make data-driven decisions to enhance your website’s SEO performance.
  5. Leverage Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify the search terms and phrases that your target audience is using (more on this later!)
  6. Engage with Your Audience: Actively engage with your audience through social media, forums, comment sections, or surveys. Encourage feedback, listen to their concerns, and respond to their inquiries. This direct interaction will provide valuable insights into their preferences, pain points, and interests. Use this information to fine-tune your SEO strategy and create content that resonates with your audience.

By consistently researching and understanding your business and target audience, you can develop SEO strategies that align with their needs, effectively reach them, and drive meaningful results for your business.

So, please don’t skip this step – it can be tempting to feel, as a small business owner, that you are already well aware of all these elements. Whilst that may be true, thinking about your business and audience through the lens of SEO is a different thing altogether, and really sets the foundation for a successful keyword strategy!

2 – Brainstorm Seed Keywords

What Are Seed Keywords In SEO?

Seed keywords, also known as primary keywords or core keywords, are the initial set of general, broad terms that represent the main topics or themes related to your business, products, or services.

What Do Seed Keywords Do?

These keywords serve as a starting point for keyword research and are used to generate a broader list of more specific and targeted keywords.

Seed keywords capture the overall essence of your business. They are the foundational terms that should encapsulate the primary concepts, products, or services offered.

For example, if you owned a bakery, bad seed keywords could be “bakery”, “bread” or “baking”, whilst good seed keywords could be “freshly baked bread”, “gluten-free donuts” or “luxury wedding cakes”.

How Do I Come Up With Seed Keywords For SEO?

Remember, the goal at this stage is to generate a list of initial seed keywords that represent the main topics or themes of your business. Don’t worry about search volume or competition just yet. You can refine and expand your keyword list in later stages of the research process.

To quickly and easily determine your first seed keywords, follow these steps:

  1. Identify Your Business: Read through the notes you made following the previous section.
  2. List Relevant Topics: Brainstorm a list of broad topics that are relevant to your business. These should be general areas that your target audience is interested in or searches for online. For example, if you have an e-commerce website selling sports shoes, relevant topics could include “running shoes,” “athletic footwear,” “sports shoes,” and so on.
  3. Use Tools: Utilise keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or AnswerThePublic. Enter your relevant topics into these tools to generate a list of related keywords.
  4. Analyse Competitors: Research your competitors in your industry or niche. Visit their websites and look for common themes or topics and note down any relevant keywords that align with your business.
  5. Leverage Customer Insights: If you have existing customers or an audience, reach out to them to gain insights into the terms they use to search for products or services like yours. Conduct surveys, and interviews, or analyse customer feedback to gather keyword ideas that resonate with your target audience.
  6. Use Google Autocomplete: Start typing your relevant topics or industry keywords into Google’s search bar and observe the suggestions that appear. These suggestions are based on popular searches, providing valuable seed keywords that can be used as a starting point.
  7. Leverage Social Media and Forums: Explore social media platforms and online forums related to your industry. Look for discussions, hashtags, or groups where people discuss topics related to your business. Pay attention to the language they use and note down any relevant keywords or phrases. Sites like Reddit can be an absolute goldmine!

3 – Expand your List of Keywords

Now we’ve got seed keywords in place, it’s time to expand upon them – they’re only seeds after all!

Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there to help with this process. We’ll break down three of the most popular tools – Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, and Moz’s Keyword Explorer below.

Remember, keyword research tools provide valuable data and suggestions, but it’s essential to analyse and interpret the results in the context of your specific business and target audience. Here’s how to get started on each of these platforms – we’ll dive into more detail on the data you should focus on in the following sections.

How To Use Google Keyword Planner

  • Sign in to Google Ads and access the Keyword Planner tool.
  • Choose the “Discover new keywords” option.
  • Enter your seed keywords or related terms in the search bar.
  • Explore the generated list of keyword ideas along with their search volume, competition, and other metrics.
  • Identify relevant keywords with sufficient search volume and add them to your list.
  • For more help, head here.

How To Use SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool

  • Sign in to your SEMrush account.
  • Go to the “Keyword Magic Tool” or similar keyword research tool.
  • Enter your seed keywords in the search box.
  • Explore the list of keyword suggestions along with metrics like search volume, keyword difficulty, CPC (Cost Per Click), and more.
  • Filter the results based on relevance, search volume, or other criteria.
  • Identify suitable keywords and add them to your list.
  • For more help, head here.

How to Use Moz’s Keyword Explorer

  • Access the Moz Keyword Explorer tool.
  • Enter your seed keywords or topics in the search bar.
  • Review the generated keyword suggestions with important metrics such as search volume, difficulty, organic CTR (Click-Through Rate), and more.
  • Analyze the keyword rankings, related questions, and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) analysis provided by the tool.
  • Select keywords that are relevant and aligned with your goals, and add them to your list.
  • For more help, head here.

4 – Analyse Search Intent For SEO

What Is Search Intent And Why Is It So Important?

Search intent refers to the underlying motivation or purpose behind a user’s search query. It is crucial to decipher what users are truly looking for when they enter specific keywords into search engines.

Remember, Google’s primary focus is satisfying the search intent of its users!

Search intent can be broadly categorised into four main types:

  1. Informational Intent: Users with informational intent are seeking knowledge or answers to their questions. They want to learn about a particular topic, find definitions, or understand how something works. For example, someone searching for “how to tie a tie” is looking for step-by-step instructions or a video tutorial. Around 14% of Google’s total search volume is composed of questions!
  2. Navigational Intent: Navigational intent occurs when users are searching for a specific website or online destination. They have a clear idea of the website they want to visit but may not remember the exact URL. For instance, a search for “Facebook login” indicates a user’s intent to access the Facebook website.
  3. Transactional Intent: Transactional intent reflects users’ desire to perform an action, such as making a purchase, subscribing to a service, or downloading a file. They are ready to engage in a transaction and often include keywords like “buy,” “discount,” or “best price.” For example, a search for “buy iPhone X online” suggests a user’s intent to purchase that specific product.
  4. Commercial Investigation Intent: Users with commercial investigation intent are in the research phase and evaluating different products or services. They might compare features, and prices, or read reviews before making a decision. Queries like “best DSLR cameras under £1000” indicate this intent, as the user wants to explore options before making a purchase.

Why Does Search Intent Matter For Increasing Traffic & Rankings?

Analysing the search intent of keywords allows you to create content that aligns with what your audience is searching for, leading to higher relevance, engagement and user satisfaction (that’s good news for your rankings, too!)

By understanding search intent, you can address users’ specific needs, whether they’re looking for information, solutions, products, or services. It’s so important, there’s even a whole section dedicated to it in Google’s ‘Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.’

Understanding search intent allows SEO experts to optimise content, aligning it with the user’s intent and creating a better user experience. By providing relevant and valuable content that fulfills the user’s intent, websites can increase their chances of ranking higher in search engine results and attracting targeted organic traffic.

How Can I Analyse Search Intent?

To analyse the search intent of keywords, you can follow these steps:

  1. Examine search results: Look at the existing top-ranking pages for your target keyword and observe the type of content they provide. Are they blog posts, product pages, guides, or videos? This can give you insights into the intent behind the keyword.
  2. Review the content format: Analyse the format and structure of the top-ranking content. For example, if most results are in the form of step-by-step guides, it suggests users are seeking instructional or how-to information.
  3. Read the search snippets: Pay attention to the search engine result page (SERP) snippets for your target keyword. These brief descriptions often provide clues about the search intent. Are they informational, transactional, or navigational in nature? Whilst around 20% of featured snippets are listed, there are other forms too, such as tables and videos.
  4. Understand user queries: Study the specific queries users enter when searching for your target keyword. Are they asking questions, looking for comparisons, or seeking specific products/services? This can indicate the underlying intent behind their search.
  5. Utilise keyword research tools: Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz’s Keyword Explorer can help you identify patterns and understand the typical intent associated with specific keywords. For example, SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool has a dedicated column for showing the intent of the keyword.
  6. Use tools like Answer the Public or AlsoAsked to uncover the common questions, concerns, and search queries related to your target keywords. These tools provide insights into the various user intents (e.g., informational, transactional, navigational) behind specific keywords. Aligning your content with user intent enhances keyword relevance and improves the overall user experience.
  7. Analyse historical data: If you have access to website analytics or search query data from your website, examine the historical performance of keywords and the behaviour of users who arrived through those keywords. This data can offer insights into the intent of users who interacted with your content.

By combining these approaches, you can gain a better understanding of the search intent behind keywords. This analysis helps you create content that fulfils users’ needs and matches their expectations, resulting in higher engagement, improved rankings, and increased conversions.

5 – Prioritise Relevance and Search Volume

What is Keyword Relevance in SEO?

In the realm of SEO, relevance refers to how closely a keyword aligns with the content and purpose of a webpage.

It is essential to choose keywords that are highly relevant to the topic or theme of the page you want to optimise, and by incorporating relevant keywords naturally into your content, meta tags, headings, and other elements, you can signal to search engines that your page is valuable and pertinent to users’ search intents.

Relevance plays a crucial role in determining your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) and attracting targeted organic traffic to your website. Remember, search engines are obsessed with relevance, and they want their top results to be the most directly useful and relevant to the searcher – that’s why the top three Google results get 54.4% of all clicks!

What is Search Volume?

Search volume refers to the average number of times a particular keyword is searched for within a given timeframe, often measured monthly. It indicates the popularity or demand for a specific keyword or search term.

Search volume data provides insights into how many people are actively searching for a particular keyword, allowing SEO experts to gauge its potential traffic-driving capability. Keywords with higher search volumes generally have more competition, making it challenging to rank for them.

On the other hand, keywords with lower search volumes may have less competition but may also attract fewer visitors.

Keyword research tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, can help you explore search volume data for different keywords and make informed decisions when optimising your website.

However, take these figures with a pinch of salt – Google Keyword Planner overestimates search volume 54% of the time, and you’ll often find different tools giving you different results. No tool will ever be 100% accurate, as these are estimations!

Key things to remember when assessing search volume are:

  • Not all searches result in clicks (in fact, up to 2/3rds of Google Searches don’t!)
  • Higher search volume does not mean more traffic
  • Search volume results are based on annual averages and as such can’t be relied on too heavily for seasonal queries or rapid trends.

How Do These Factors Help My Keyword Selection?

Balancing search volume with relevance is crucial to find the sweet spot where you can target keywords that have a decent search volume and align well with your content.

Ideally, you want to balance the two factors. Look for keywords that are highly relevant to your content and align with your target audience’s intent.

At the same time, consider keywords with a reasonable search volume that indicate a decent demand for those terms. This balance will allow you to attract relevant traffic while maximising your potential visibility, capturing different segments of your target audience.

So, How Do I Find Out Relevance And Search Volume For SEO Keywords?

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there in the ether that can help us with determining each of these factors…

  1. Keyword Research Tools: Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer are valuable resources to determine search volume and keyword relevance. These tools provide data on search volume, related keywords, and competition levels.
    • Search Volume: Enter your target keywords into the keyword research tool to retrieve search volume data. It will give you an estimate of how often those keywords are searched for within a specific timeframe, often monthly. Focus on keywords with a decent search volume to ensure they have enough potential to drive traffic.
    • Related Keywords: These tools also suggest related keywords that are semantically connected to your target keyword. Exploring related keywords can help you uncover additional keyword opportunities that may have significant search volume and relevance.
  2. Google Trends: Google Trends is a powerful tool that provides insights into the popularity and seasonality of keywords over time. It allows you to compare search volumes and interest trends for different keywords or topics. By analysing these trends, you can identify seasonal fluctuations, emerging topics, or declining interests related to your target keywords.
  3. SERP Analysis: Analysing the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target keywords can provide valuable insights into keyword relevance. Examine the top-ranking pages and assess how well they align with the search intent behind the keyword. Look for similarities in content topics, formats, and types of websites that appear. This analysis will help you understand the relevance of your chosen keywords and guide your content creation and optimization efforts.

By leveraging these tools effectively, you can gather meaningful data on search volume, competition, and keyword relevance. This information will guide your keyword selection and optimisation strategies, enabling you to target keywords that have sufficient search volume, relevance to your business, and the potential to drive organic traffic to your website.

6 – Evaluate The Competition

What is Keyword Competition?

Keyword competition refers to the level of difficulty or challenge associated with ranking for a specific keyword in search engine results pages (SERPs). It assesses the strength and authority of competing websites targeting the same keyword and indicates the effort required to achieve a higher ranking.

Why Does Keyword Competition Matter?

Here is why it’s crucial to assess the competition level of keywords:

1 – Ranking Potential

Assessing keyword competitiveness helps you gauge your chances of ranking well in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Highly competitive keywords are often targeted by established websites with strong authority and extensive resources. Trying to rank for such competitive keywords as a new or smaller website can be challenging and time-consuming. By evaluating competitiveness, you can identify keywords that have a better ranking potential and are more realistic to target. 

2 – Resource Allocation

Keyword competitiveness analysis allows you to allocate your resources effectively, as creating content and optimising your website for keywords that are excessively competitive might require significant time, effort, and resources.

By identifying moderately competitive or long-tail keywords, you can optimise your website for terms that have a reasonable chance of ranking well while utilising your resources more efficiently. 

3 – Targeted Traffic

Assessing competition helps you focus on keywords that attract targeted traffic to your website. Highly competitive keywords may generate significant search volume, but they may also bring in a broader range of users who may not be specifically interested in your offerings.

By targeting less competitive keywords that are more relevant to your niche, you can attract visitors who are more likely to convert into customers or engage with your content. 

4 – Niche Opportunities

Analysing competition presents an opportunity to identify underserved niches or gaps in the market. By finding keywords with lower competition but still possessing decent search volume and relevance, you can capitalise on these opportunities and establish your authority within a specific niche.

This strategy allows you to build a dedicated audience and stand out from the competition.

How Do I Determine The Competitiveness of a Keyword?

Determining the competitiveness of a keyword involves evaluating various factors to assess the level of competition for that particular keyword. While it can be challenging to get an exact measure of keyword competitiveness, here are some effective methods to help you determine it:

  1. Analyse the SERP: Start by conducting a manual search of the keyword on search engines like Google. Examine the search engine results page (SERP) to understand the type of content that ranks for the keyword. Look for high-ranking authority websites, industry-leading publications, and established competitors. If the top results are dominated by well-known and authoritative sites, it suggests higher competition for that keyword.
  2. Competition Analysis Tools: Leverage SEO tools and software that provide competition analysis metrics. Tools like SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs, or SpyFu offer keyword difficulty or competition scores that indicate the level of competition for a specific keyword. These scores are based on factors such as the authority of competing domains, backlink profiles, and other SEO metrics. Higher difficulty scores imply more competitive keywords.
  3. Backlink Analysis: Backlinks are an essential aspect of SEO and can give insights into keyword competitiveness. Analyse the backlink profiles of top-ranking pages for the keyword you’re assessing. If they have a substantial number of high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites, it indicates a higher level of competition. Backlink analysis tools like Ahrefs or Majestic can assist in evaluating the strength and quantity of backlinks for specific pages.
  4. Content Quality and Relevance: Evaluate the quality and relevance of content that ranks highly for the keyword. If the top-ranking pages have comprehensive, well-optimised, and authoritative content, it signifies a higher level of competition. Assessing the quality and relevance of competing content can give you an idea of the effort required to compete in the SERPs.
  5. Social Media and Engagement: Consider the social media presence and engagement of competing websites for the keyword. Look for their social media following, and the number of shares, comments, and engagement on their content. Higher engagement levels often indicate a competitive environment where established brands or popular websites dominate the keyword.
  6. Your Website’s Authority: Evaluate the authority and strength of your own website. If you have a new or low-authority website, it may be challenging to compete for highly competitive keywords. Consider targeting less competitive or long-tail keywords that align with your content and have a better chance of ranking higher with your website’s current authority.

Remember, keyword competitiveness is not the sole determining factor. It should be considered alongside relevance, search volume, and your overall marketing goals. By striking a balance between competitive and less competitive keywords, you can optimise your website for improved rankings, and targeted traffic, and ultimately, drive the desired results for your business.

Graphic Credit – BackLinko

7 – Don’t Forget Long-Tail Keywords

What Makes Long-Tail Keywords So Important?

Strangely, long-tail keywords are often overlooked by marketers. Let’s look at why:

Firstly, many marketers and businesses tend to focus on broad, high-volume keywords because they believe that attracting a larger audience will lead to better results. However, this approach often leads to fierce competition and lower conversion rates.

There is also a misconception that long-tail keywords have low search volume and are not worth the effort. While it’s true that each long-tail keyword may have a lower individual search volume than a shorter counterpart, collectively they can make up a significant portion of organic search traffic. In fact, in a study conducted by BackLinko, 91.8% of all search queries are long-tail driven!

Moreover, long-tail keywords often have higher intent and are more likely to lead to conversions due to their specific nature.

Yes, long-tail keyword research requires more effort and time compared to targeting broad keywords and involves understanding your target audience deeply, analysing search trends, and leveraging keyword research tools effectively.

This level of dedication and investment can discourage some marketers from pursuing long-tail keywords. Unfortunately, when it comes to SEO, laziness just isn’t an option!

Overlooking long-tail keywords means missing out on valuable opportunities to attract highly targeted and qualified traffic.

Why Are Long-Tail Keywords Valuable?

ThinkWithGoogle has stated that “The long tail could provide an untapped opportunity to connect with potential customers. Invest in these areas and see volumes grow.” That’s a pretty clear indication of how Google see long-tail keywords, but why do they think they’re so powerful?

Long-tail keywords can be incredibly valuable for several reasons:

  1. Specificity: Long-tail keywords are more specific and detailed phrases that typically consist of three or more words. They provide a clearer indication of the searcher’s intent compared to broad keywords. By targeting long-tail keywords, you can better understand and meet the specific needs and preferences of your audience. This specificity leads to higher relevance, better user experience, and improved conversion rates.
  2. Lower Competition: Long-tail keywords generally have lower search volume and lower competition compared to broad keywords. This means that fewer websites or businesses are targeting these specific phrases, making it easier for your content to rank higher in search engine results. With less competition, you have a better chance of attracting organic traffic and reaching your target audience.
  3. Higher Conversion Potential: Long-tail keywords often reflect a higher level of purchase intent or specific user needs, with some studies showing up to 2.5X better performance than broad keywords. When users search with long-tail keywords, they are usually closer to the end of the sales funnel and more likely to convert. By optimising your content for these long-tail keywords, you can attract highly targeted traffic that is more likely to engage, convert, or make a purchase.
  4. Enhanced User Experience: When you align your content with long-tail keywords, you can provide users with more relevant and specific information. This improves the overall user experience, as visitors can find exactly what they’re looking for without having to sift through irrelevant or generic content. A positive user experience leads to increased engagement, longer time spent on your site, and higher chances of conversions or repeat visits.
  5. Voice Search and Natural Language Queries: With the rise of voice search and virtual assistants, people tend to use more conversational and longer search queries. Long-tail keywords often mirror these natural language patterns. By optimising your content for long-tail keywords, you can tap into the growing voice search trend and capture the attention of users who are asking questions or using voice commands to find information.
  6. Niche Targeting: Long-tail keywords allow you to target specific niches within your industry. By focusing on niche or highly specific long-tail keywords, you can reach a more targeted and relevant audience. This helps you establish authority and expertise within your niche, leading to higher engagement, increased brand loyalty, and a better chance of attracting quality leads or customers.

How To Find The Best Long-Tail Keywords For SEO In 2023

It can feel overwhelming to try and whittle a seemingly infinite list of keywords into something useful to you and your business. Luckily, we’ve got you covered!

Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding long-tailed keywords for your research…

  1. Expand with Specific Keywords: Revisit your Seed Keywords and think of specific keywords or phrases that are related to them. These can be variations, specific features, or modifiers that add more context. For example, using the “workout clothing” topic, specific keywords could be “moisture-wicking workout shirts,” “compression leggings for running,” or “breathable sports bras.”
  2. Leverage Keyword Research Tools: Utilise keyword research tools to expand your list of long-tail keywords. Enter your broad topics and specific keywords into these tools to generate a broader list of long-tail keyword ideas.
  3. Analyse Competitor Keywords: Study your competitors’ websites and identify the long-tail keywords they are targeting. Look for keywords in their page titles, headings, and meta descriptions. This can provide you with additional ideas for long-tail keywords that are relevant to your industry and aligned with your competitors’ successful strategies.
  4. Utilise Search Suggestions: Take advantage of Google’s search suggestions and related searches. Start typing your broad topics or specific keywords into Google’s search bar and observe the suggested search queries that appear. These suggestions are based on popular searches and can help you discover long-tail keyword variations that people are actively using.
  5. Refine Your List: After you’ve compiled your initial list, evaluate the search volume, competition, and potential value of each long-tail keyword. Look for keywords with a decent search volume and relatively low competition.

Select a combination of long-tail keywords that strike a balance between relevance, search volume, and competition. Incorporate these keywords strategically into your website’s content, including page titles, headings, meta tags, and within the body of your pages. Ensure the usage feels natural and enhances the overall user experience.

Remember to blend both types of keywords to create a comprehensive content strategy. Use short-tail keywords for broader topics and to capture a wider audience, while incorporating long-tail keywords within the content to address specific queries and provide valuable information. This combination allows you to cover a range of user intents and cater to different stages of the buyer’s journey.

8 – Avoid Keyword Stuffing

What Is Keyword Stuffing In SEO?

Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of excessively and unnaturally repeating keywords or key phrases within a webpage’s content, meta tags, or other elements, with the intention of manipulating search engine rankings. The idea behind keyword stuffing is to make search engines believe that the webpage is highly relevant for those specific keywords and thus improve its visibility in search results.

In the early days of search engines, keyword stuffing was a common technique used by website owners to gain an advantage in search rankings. However, search engines have significantly evolved over time.

Search engines now employ complex algorithms that analyse numerous factors to determine the relevancy and quality of a webpage. These algorithms can easily detect keyword stuffing and identify it as an attempt to manipulate rankings rather than provide valuable information to users.

As a result, keyword stuffing is now considered a “black hat SEO technique”, and studies have shown Google responds best to a keyword density of around 0.5-0.7% (1 keyword every 200 or so words)

Why Shouldn’t I Use Keyword Stuffing To Improve SEO Results?

Keyword stuffing carries several risks and drawbacks that can negatively impact your website’s search engine rankings and user experience. Here are the key risks associated with keyword stuffing:

  1. Search engine penalties: Search engines, such as Google, actively discourage keyword stuffing and penalise websites that engage in this practice. It is a confirmed “negative ranking factor”. Penalties can range from lower rankings to complete removal from search results, severely impacting your website’s visibility and organic traffic.
  2. Poor user experience: Keyword stuffing often leads to unnatural, unreadable, and spammy content. When users encounter content that is stuffed with keywords, it diminishes their experience and may lead to frustration, increased bounce rates, and decreased engagement. This can result in a negative perception of your website and diminished credibility.
  3. Reduced relevance and quality: Keyword stuffing sacrifices the quality and relevance of your content. When your focus is solely on repeating keywords, it can detract from providing valuable and informative content to your audience. As a result, users may not find your content helpful, which can negatively affect your website’s reputation and authority.
  4. Decreased click-through rates: Keyword stuffing often leads to unappealing meta titles and descriptions, as well as unnatural content headlines. When users come across search results that look spammy or do not appear to address their search intent, they are less likely to click through to your website. This can result in lower click-through rates and missed opportunities to attract visitors.
  5. Competitive disadvantage: In today’s SEO landscape, where quality content and user experience are prioritised, keyword stuffing puts you at a disadvantage against competitors who focus on producing valuable content. Websites that adhere to modern SEO best practices will have an edge in search rankings and attract more organic traffic.

To achieve sustainable SEO success, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing and instead focus on creating high-quality, user-oriented content that incorporates relevant keywords naturally and provides genuine value to your audience!

9 – Monitor and Refine

The “monitor and adapt” stage of keyword research is where the real work starts! This allows you to continuously evaluate and refine your keyword strategy based on real-time data and evolving trends.

Why Should I Monitor and Adapt my Keywords?

Continuous improvement and monitoring is at the heart of a successful SEO campaign – here are 5 reasons to take this stage seriously:

  1. Tracking performance: By monitoring the performance of your chosen keywords, you can assess their effectiveness in driving traffic, conversions, and overall website success. This involves analysing metrics such as search volume, click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates associated with specific keywords. Monitoring keyword performance helps you identify which keywords are generating positive results and which ones may need adjustment.
  2. Staying updated with market shifts: Markets, industries, and consumer behaviour evolve over time. New trends, technologies, or changes in user preferences can impact the popularity and relevance of certain keywords. By monitoring and adapting your keyword strategy, you can stay up-to-date with these shifts and ensure that your website remains aligned with the current market landscape.
  3. Responding to competition: Your competitors may also be actively optimising their keyword strategies. By monitoring their keyword usage and performance, you can identify new opportunities, uncover competitive advantages, and adjust your approach accordingly. This allows you to stay ahead or keep pace with competitors and maintain or improve your search rankings.
  4. Identifying emerging keywords: Keyword research is an ongoing process that involves discovering new keywords and identifying emerging search trends. By monitoring search queries, user behaviour, and industry developments, you can uncover emerging keywords that present opportunities for targeting a niche or expanding your reach. Adapting your keyword strategy to incorporate these emerging keywords can give you a competitive edge and attract new audiences.
  5. Refining and optimising your content: Through monitoring and adaptation, you can gather valuable insights about your audience’s search intent and preferences. This information enables you to refine your content to better align with user expectations and improve its relevance. By incorporating new keywords or adjusting existing ones, you can optimize your content for improved search visibility, engagement, and conversions.

Without processes in place to continually evolve your SEO efforts, you risk letting otherwise great content become outdated and lessen the impact and performance of your SEO campaign.

So, How Do I Monitor And Refine My Keywords For The Best Performance?

The monitoring and continuous improvement stage is often overwhelming to business owners who don’t know where to start, or how much time/energy they should invest here.

Luckily, like most SEO related tasks, there are some fantastic tools out there to help you do this in an efficient manner!

Here’s some key insight on how you can get started…

1 – Monitor Keyword Performance

Once you have implemented your target keywords on your website, it’s important to monitor their performance using website analytics tools like Google Analytics. Keep an eye on key metrics such as organic search traffic, click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates associated with specific keywords. This data will provide insights into how well your keywords are driving traffic and engagement on your website.

Pay attention to any significant changes or trends in keyword performance. Identify keywords that are performing exceptionally well and driving positive results, as well as keywords that may not be delivering the desired outcomes. This information will help you make informed decisions about your keyword strategy.

2 – Adapt & Refine

Based on the insights gathered from monitoring keyword performance, it’s time to adapt and refine your keyword strategy. Here are a few actions you can take:

  • Adjust keyword targeting: If certain keywords are consistently underperforming or not generating the desired results, consider refining your keyword targeting. Look for alternative keywords that better align with user intent or have higher potential for driving relevant traffic.
  • Optimise existing content: Analyse the performance of individual pages or articles targeting specific keywords. If a page is not ranking well or receiving much traffic, consider optimising its content by improving keyword usage, enhancing the page’s relevance, and ensuring it provides valuable information to users.
  • Create new content: Identify gaps in your existing content where relevant keywords are not adequately addressed. Develop new content pieces or articles that specifically target these keywords. This will help expand your website’s visibility and capture additional organic traffic.
  • Identify emerging keywords: Stay updated with industry trends, changes in user behaviour, and emerging search queries. Use keyword research tools to identify new keywords or topics that are gaining popularity. By incorporating these emerging keywords into your strategy, you can tap into evolving search trends and attract new audiences.

3 – Repeat the Process

Monitoring and refining keywords should be an ongoing and iterative process. Keyword performance and search trends can change over time, so it’s essential to regularly revisit your keyword strategy. Continuously monitor keyword performance, track changes in user behaviour, and adapt your strategy accordingly.

The frequency of monitoring and refining your keywords can vary depending on factors such as the size of your website, the competitiveness of your industry, and the resources available to you. While there is no strict rule, here are some guidelines to consider:

  1. Initial monitoring: When you first implement your target keywords and optimise your website, it’s a good practice to closely monitor their performance in the early stages. This initial monitoring period can range from a few weeks to a couple of months, allowing you to gather sufficient data to evaluate keyword performance.
  2. Ongoing monitoring: Once you have established a baseline understanding of how your keywords are performing, you can shift to a regular monitoring schedule. This can range from monthly to quarterly check-ins to assess keyword performance and identify any significant changes or trends.
  3. Industry and market shifts: Keep an eye on your industry and market trends. If there are rapid shifts, emerging topics, or changes in user behaviour, it may be necessary to increase the frequency of your keyword monitoring. This will help you stay responsive to the evolving landscape and capture new opportunities.
  4. Seasonal or campaign-specific monitoring: If you run seasonal campaigns or have specific marketing initiatives, it’s advisable to monitor and refine your keywords more frequently during those periods. This allows you to optimise your keyword strategy to align with campaign goals and capitalise on seasonal trends.

Remember that keyword monitoring and refinement are ongoing tasks. While there is no fixed interval that suits every situation, aim to strike a balance between frequent enough monitoring to capture changes and infrequent enough monitoring to allow sufficient time for meaningful data collection.

Ultimately, it’s important to find a monitoring frequency that aligns with your resources and the dynamics of your industry.

10 – Know There’s SEO Support Out There

The world of SEO can seem incredible over-facing to those without much experience in the field. Through our work, we’ve met a wide variety of small business owners and discovered that there are some common pain-points often shared between them all…

Challenges Small Business Owners Face with SEO

  1. Complexity and technical nature: SEO involves a wide range of technical aspects, including website optimization, keyword research, content creation, link building, and performance monitoring. For small business owners who are not familiar with these intricacies, the technical nature of SEO can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate.
  2. Constant changes and updates: SEO is a dynamic field that continuously evolves. Search engine algorithms, ranking factors, and best practices are constantly changing. Keeping up with these updates and staying current with the latest trends can be time-consuming and overwhelming for small business owners who already have numerous responsibilities to handle.
  3. Lack of knowledge and expertise: SEO requires a solid understanding of search engine optimization principles, keyword targeting, content optimization, and other strategies. Small business owners may lack the necessary knowledge and expertise to effectively implement SEO techniques. Without proper guidance, they may feel overwhelmed by the learning curve and unsure about the best practices to follow.
  4. Time constraints: Small business owners often have limited time available to dedicate to SEO. Running a business involves managing various tasks, including operations, customer service, financial management, and marketing. Allocating time for learning and implementing SEO strategies may not be feasible, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and unsure about where to start.
  5. Competitive landscape: Many industries have fierce competition, and ranking well in search results can be challenging. Small business owners may feel overwhelmed by the competitive landscape, especially if they lack the resources and expertise to effectively compete with established players or larger companies.
  6. Ever-increasing online presence demands: In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for small businesses. However, the demands of managing a website, social media accounts, online reviews, and other digital marketing efforts can be overwhelming. SEO is just one aspect of this broader online presence, adding to the overall complexity and overwhelm.

Given these challenges, small business owners may find it overwhelming to tackle SEO on their own. Engaging an SEO professional or agency can alleviate the burden, provide guidance, and help small business owners navigate the complexities of SEO, allowing them to focus on their core business operations.

How Can Hiring an SEO Partner Help Me?

Hiring an SEO partner, whether it’s a freelancer or agency, can provide you with time-saving and cost-efficient benefits. Here’s a closer look at those advantages:

  1. Time-saving: SEO requires consistent effort and ongoing optimization. By hiring an SEO partner, small business owners can delegate the time-consuming tasks of keyword research, content creation, technical optimisations, and performance monitoring. This allows them to focus on running their business and attending to other important responsibilities, while the SEO partner handles the intricacies of optimising the website for search engines.
  2. Expertise and efficiency: SEO partners bring expertise and specialised knowledge to the table. They understand the complexities of search engine algorithms, best practices, and the ever-evolving SEO landscape. With their experience, they can efficiently implement strategies that yield results, saving time that would otherwise be spent on trial-and-error or learning SEO from scratch.
  3. Cost efficiency: While hiring an SEO partner involves an investment, it can be a cost-effective approach in the long run. Building an in-house SEO team or dedicating internal resources to SEO can be more expensive, requiring hiring and training expenses, software costs, and ongoing management. In contrast, outsourcing SEO to a freelancer or agency provides access to a team of professionals at a fraction of the cost, without the overhead expenses associated with maintaining an internal team.
  4. Scalability and flexibility: Small businesses often have fluctuating needs based on seasonal demands or business growth. SEO freelancers and agencies offer flexibility, allowing small business owners to scale their SEO efforts up or down as needed. Whether it’s adjusting the level of service, increasing keyword targeting, or expanding the scope of SEO activities, an SEO partner can adapt to meet the evolving needs of the business.
  5. Access to tools and resources: SEO partners typically have access to a wide range of SEO tools and resources that can be costly for small businesses to invest in independently. These tools aid in keyword research, competitor analysis, website auditing, performance tracking, and more. By hiring an SEO partner, small business owners can leverage these tools without additional expenses.

By relying on the expertise and resources of an SEO partner, you can focus on your core operations while ensuring their online presence is effectively optimised for search engines.

So, How Do I Find An SEO Partner?

Finding a reputable SEO partner for a small business requires careful consideration and research. Here are some steps to help a small business owner in the process:

  1. Define your SEO goals: Before searching for an SEO partner, clearly identify your SEO goals and what you aim to achieve. Determine whether you need help with website optimization, content creation, link building, or a comprehensive SEO strategy. Having a clear understanding of your objectives will guide you in finding a suitable partner.
  2. Seek recommendations and referrals: Reach out to fellow small business owners, industry peers, or professionals in your network who have experience with SEO. Ask for recommendations and referrals to reputable SEO partners they have worked with. Hearing about their firsthand experiences can help you make more informed decisions.
  3. Research and evaluate potential partners: Conduct online research to find SEO freelancers or agencies that align with your business requirements. Visit their websites, review their portfolios, and assess their experience, expertise, and client testimonials. Look for partners who specialise in working with small businesses or have a proven track record in your industry.
  4. Request case studies and references: Request case studies or examples of their previous work to assess the quality of their SEO efforts and results. Additionally, ask for references or client testimonials to gain insights into their professionalism, communication, and ability to deliver on their promises.
  5. Schedule consultations: Narrow down your list of potential SEO partners and schedule consultations with them. During these consultations, discuss your business goals, challenges, and expectations. Pay attention to their communication style, responsiveness, and the strategies they propose. A reputable SEO partner will listen to your needs, provide customised solutions, and offer transparency in their approach.
  6. Consider the service offerings: Evaluate the expertise and services offered by each SEO partner. Consider factors such as keyword research, on-page and off-page optimization, content creation, technical SEO, and reporting. Choose a partner who can provide a comprehensive range of services aligned with your specific needs (some will be web designers and graphic designers too, giving you access to wider marketing services and support!)
  7. Discuss pricing and contracts: Understand the pricing structure and payment terms of potential SEO partners. Discuss whether they charge fixed fees, hourly rates, or operate on a retainer basis. Ensure that the costs fit within your budget and that the contract terms are fair and reasonable.
  8. Assess ongoing communication and reporting: Effective communication and regular reporting are crucial for a successful SEO partnership. Inquire about the frequency and format of progress reports, as well as the channels of communication they utilise. A reputable SEO partner will keep you informed, provide transparent reporting, and be accessible for any questions or concerns.
  9. Trust your instincts: Finally, trust your instincts and choose an SEO partner with whom you feel comfortable and confident. Building a strong working relationship is essential for long-term success.

By following these steps and conducting thorough research, you can find a reputable SEO partner who can help improve their online visibility, attract organic traffic, and achieve their SEO goals.

So, To Conclude…

We hope you can now find the world of keywords and keyword research a little clearer now! Successful keyword selection and research empowers you to understand your target audience, optimise your website content, and drive relevant organic traffic.

Taking the time to conduct thorough keyword research is essential for identifying valuable keywords that align with your business goals. This will form the bedrock of future SEO efforts and, if rushed, you risk wasting precious time and resources in the long-run.

If you think you’ll find the process daunting or time-consuming, and want to explore partnering with an experienced SEO agency can provide valuable expertise and support, we can help.

Our dedicated team is ready to help you develop and implement a comprehensive SEO strategy tailored bespoke to your business needs.

Get in touch with us today and let us help you grow.

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